The 2022 Winner and Honorary Mentions of the Finnish Venture Capital Association’s Master’s Thesis Competition Have Been Chosen – Antto Piirainen from Aalto University’s School of Business Was Chosen as the Winner


The winner of the FVCA’s 2022 Master’s Thesis Competition is Antto Piirainen from Aalto University’s School of Business. According to the jury, consisting of the association’s research committee members, Piirainen’s work “Secondary and tertiary buyout performance and value creation” was of very high quality and showed a broad understanding of the private equity and venture capital industry.

The thesis aims to shed light on the performance and value creation profiles of primary and secondary buyouts and investigate whether they differ from those of tertiary buyouts, meaning transactions in which a portfolio company is acquired by a private equity investor for the third consecutive time.

Piirainen’s work was praised by the jury for its comprehensive global data set that consisted of a total of 243 fully exited buyout deals. Based on this data, the research shows that secondary and tertiary buyouts exhibit weaker EBITDA margin improvement than primary buyouts. Secondary owners of a portfolio company engage in multiple expansion in value creation, while tertiary owners create value through sales growth. Both secondary and tertiary buyouts, however, achieve value growth similar to that of primary buyouts. The jury found these key findings very relevant to the PE & VC industry.

“Piirainen’s excellent work was very topical. Private equity and venture capital funds in Finland and worldwide have a lot of capital for future investments. At the same time, when IPOs have been on hiatus, we will certainly see an increasing number of transactions between PE & VC companies”, comments Jonne Kuittinen, the FVCA’s Operations Manager and Research Responsible.

Piirainen also wrote a blog post about his thesis, which you can read here.

As in previous years, two honorary mentions were also given in the competition for particularly commendable works. In 2022 one of the mentions went to Risto Hollmén and Kristo Siikala from Aalto University’s school of business. According to the jury, their work “Estimating the true performance and risk of Private Equity” was based on unique data and the risk level analysis brought additional colour to the thesis. The second mention went to Renáta Gabriella Sándor and Gauti Thormar from Stockholm Business School for their work “Evolution of Management Control System in Early-Stage Enterprises – A Multiple Case Study in European SMEs.” The jury was particularly impressed with Sándor and Thormar’s methodology in their work.

The FVCA’s Master’s Thesis Competition for this year is open again, and entries will be accepted until the 15th of October, 2023. Read more about the competition here.

Through the Master’s Thesis Competition, we aim to spark students’ interest towards the private equity and venture capital industry as a future workplace. In the best-case scenario, the competition can serve as a kick-start for one’s career. In addition to the competition, we try to pave the way to the industry for talent from different backgrounds with the help of, for example, the industry’s mentor program and internships”, Kuittinen continues.

In previous years the winners of the competition have been Henry Lencioni (2021) from Aalto University with his work Assessing Venture Capital Investor Performance Drivers With Machine Learning, Christa Anttila (2020) from Hanken with her work The venture capital gender gap from female founder perspective, and Isabella Kartila (2019) from the University of Helsinki with her work  New Tax Law Welcomes Foreign Investments in Finnish Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds.